Masjid Malabar

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Malabar Mosque seen from the East
The octagonal tower and onion dome of the Mosque
The frontal façade of the Mosque

Masjid Malabar (full name: Malabar Muslim Jama-Ath Mosque, Malay for Malabar Mosque) is Singapore's only Malabar Muslim mosque. The mosque is located at the junction of Victoria Street and Jalan Sultan in the Kampong Glam district, in the Rochor Planning Area within the Central Area. The mosque was constructed in 1962.

History[edit]

In 1927, the Malabar Muslims, originally from the southern state of Kerala in India, formed Malabar Muslim Jama'ath, an association to look after the matters of their community, made up of mostly textile and jewellery merchants.

On 10 April 1956, the foundation stone for a mosque was laid. Construction halted as money ran dry. Fund-raising efforts were stepped up and donations poured in from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. On 24 January 1963, Malabar Mosque was declared open by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof Ishak.

Today, Malabar Mosque continues to be the focal point of the Malabar Muslim community who gather there every Friday and on Hari Raya and other religious occasions for prayers and celebrations.

Architecture[edit]

Malabar Mosque is traditional in its layout and general form. The main prayer hall is elevated by one storey and this and the flight of steps which leads to it are oriented towards Mecca. Two-storey open-air galleries surround the main prayer hall on three sides and these are put to use during the Convocation. Beneath the prayer hall is a large space for the study of the Koran and other pursuits. Here too is the room of the imam, or prayer leader, a room for visitors and a small storeroom for food preparation.

A separate two-story annexe houses offices on the upper storey and ablutions and toilets beneath. A series of external staircases connect the various levels of the mosque proper and an octagonal tower is capped by an onion dome, and topped with a crescent moon and star, similar in form to the other domes.

Shortly after the inauguration of Malabar Mosque, urban redevelopment began in the Jalan Sultan area. To help the mosque withstand its increasingly dense, modern setting, green and blue tiles replaced the paintwork that covered the outside walls. Except for a few areas left unpainted, the whole building has been redecorated in garish green and blue. Jama'ath then decided to do the same with the interior. In 1995, the entire mosque, save a few sections, were tiled.

Outside, there is an area for functions and this includes a table for laying out and washing the dead. To the rear, there is a now small, partly disused cemetery, dated circa 1819, which is for the Malabar Indians.

As with Sri Guru Nanak Sat Sangh Sabha, a gurdwara in Wilkinson Road, the Malabar Mosque was designed and built by A.H. Siddique. Siddique was an immigrant from northern India in the 1920s, who, after completing a correspondence course in building, became responsible for both the construction and design of many buildings in Singapore. Apparently, he would never take a design fee for a religious building of any denomination.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • National Heritage Board (2002), Singapore's 100 Historic Places, Archipelago Press, ISBN 981-4068-23-3
  • Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1996), Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5

External links[edit]